https://insidehmcts.blog.gov.uk/2019/05/31/what-its-like-to-be-a-security-supervisor-for-hmcts/

What it’s like to be a security supervisor for HMCTS


[English] - [Cymraeg]

I’m Vanessa and I’m a G4S security supervisor in Manchester. I became a security officer 20 years ago, after trying out a few jobs in retail and catering while my children were still young.

In my spare time, I have two main hobbies. The first is baking – I really enjoy making cakes for friends, family and work colleagues. The second is reading, in particular Stephen King novels. If I could meet any famous person in real life it would definitely be Stephen King. I love everything he’s ever written!

About the job

The best, and simultaneously, the most challenging thing about my job is its unpredictability. Every day is different and over the years I’ve had a few surprises. One time, a lady was going through security when we noticed a lizard’s head poking out from under her top - it gave all of us guards a bit of a fright!

However, the unpredictability of the job can be difficult. When you work with people – even when you’ve been doing it for 20 years – it’s hard to predict how they are going to react in certain situations.

Courts, naturally, can be emotional places where, for a lot of people, the stakes are high and there are times when we have to intervene. The other day, a lady made a bee line for her ex-partner in the courtroom and I had to get between the two. But that’s all part of the job.

Sometimes my family and friends worry about me and the job I do, but they also know how much I love it. We’re all fully trained to try to diffuse dangerous situations, and can always call for assistance if we need to. We work as a team.

Why do we need security?

In courts, you’ve got to expect the unexpected. That’s why security searches are so important.  Security processes are there to protect everybody who uses the court - we aim to treat everyone who walks into our building with exactly the same level of scrutiny and always with respect.

We do understand that for some regular court workers, searches can be a pain, and cause delays. That’s where I think the professional users’ access scheme will help, because it will speed things up for those who regularly work here.

But it’s also right that the national rollout is controlled and fully tested, so that everyone can have confidence it’s been put in place properly and doesn’t compromise anyone’s safety – so it will take a little time to be active everywhere.

In the meantime, except for where the professional access scheme is being rolled out, it’s business as usual. Everyone entering our buildings will be searched. Even you, Stephen King!

This is one of a series of three blogs from the perspectives of different people who use and work in our courts and tribunals. The series is a part of a wider effort to update our information about court security, our safety processes and the principles which underpin them. To find our more, read Susan’s blog or visit GOV.UK to see our refreshed materials about court security.


[English] - [Cymraeg]

Vanessa ydw i ac rwy’n gweithio fel goruchwyliwr diogelwch G4S ym Manceinion. Cychwynnais weithio fel swyddog diogelwch 20 mlynedd yn ôl ar ôl troi fy llaw at swyddi ym maes manwerthu ac arlwyo tra’r oedd fy mhlant yn dal yn ifanc.

Yn fy amser hamdden, mae gennyf ddau brif ddiddordeb. Y cyntaf yw pobi - rwyf wrth fy modd yn gwneud cacennau i fy ffrindiau, fy nheulu a fy nghydweithwyr. Yr ail yw darllen, nofelau Stephen King yn bennaf. Pe bawn yn cael y cyfle i gwrdd ag unrhyw unigolyn enwog, Stephen King fyddai hwnnw. Rwy’n dotio ar bopeth y mae yn ei ysgrifennu!

Ynglŷn â’r swydd

Y peth gorau a’r peth mwyaf heriol am fy swydd yw nad oes modd rhagweld beth fydd yn digwydd o ddydd i ddydd. Mae bob diwrnod yn wahanol ac rwyf wedi wynebu sawl peth sydd wedi peri syndod imi dros y blynyddoedd. Unwaith, roedd yna ddynes yn barod i gael ei chwilio gan y swyddogion diogelwch ac er syndod mawr inni gwelsom ben madfall yn sbecian o dan ei chrys – fel y gallwch ddychmygu, roedd pawb wedi eu synnu’n fawr!

Fodd bynnag, gall natur anrhagweladwy’r swydd fod yn anodd. Pan rydych yn gweithio gyda phobl – hyd yn oed os ydych wedi bod yn gwneud hynny am 20 mlynedd – mae’n anodd dweud sut y byddant yn ymateb mewn sefyllfaoedd penodol.

Gall llysoedd, yn naturiol, fod yn llefydd emosiynol iawn i lawer o bobl oherwydd gall y canlyniadau newid eu bywydau er gwaeth ac er gwell ac yn aml iawn mae’n rhaid inni ymyrryd. Y diwrnod o’r blaen, rhedodd dynes am wddf ei chynbartner yn yr ystafell llys ac roedd yn rhaid imi wahanu’r ddau o afael ei gilydd.  Mae hyn i gyd yn rhan o’r gwaith.

Weithiau mae fy nheulu a’m ffrindiau yn poeni amdanaf a’r gwaith yr wyf yn ei wneud, ond maent hefyd yn gwybod gymaint yr wyf yn ei fwynhau. Rydym wedi cael ein hyfforddi’n llawn i ddelio ag unrhyw sefyllfaoedd peryglus a gallwn alw am help ar unrhyw adeg. Rydym yn gweithio fel tîm.

Pam fod arnom angen swyddogion diogelwch?

Yn y llysoedd, mae’n rhaid ichi fod ar flaen eich traed. Dyna pam fod chwiliadau diogelwch mor bwysig. Mae prosesau diogelwch yn bodoli er mwyn diogelu pawb sy’n defnyddio’r llysoedd – rydym yn trin pawb sy’n cerdded i mewn i’n hadeilad gyda pharch.

Rydym yn deall, i bobl sy’n gweithio yn y llys yn rheolaidd, y gall chwiliadau fod yn boen, ac achosi oedi. Dyna lle rwy'n meddwl y bydd y cynllun mynediad i ddefnyddwyr proffesiynol yn helpu, oherwydd bydd yn cyflymu pethau i'r rhai sy'n gweithio yma.

Ond mae hefyd yn bwysig bod y broses genedlaethol yn cael ei rheoli a'i phrofi'n llawn, fel bod pawb yn gallu bod yn hyderus ei bod wedi'i rhoi ar waith yn iawn ac nad yw'n peryglu diogelwch neb - felly bydd yn cymryd ychydig o amser i’w chyflwyno ym mhobman.

Yn y cyfamser, oni bai am adeg cyflwyno’r cynllun mynediad proffesiynol, byddwn yn parhau i wneud ein gwaith. Bydd pawb sy’n dod i mewn i’n hadeiladau yn cael eu chwilio. Hyd yn oed chdi, Stephen King!

Dyma un o dri blog sy’n cyfleu safbwyntiau gwahanol bobl sy'n defnyddio ein llysoedd a’n tribiwnlysoedd ac yn gweithio ynddynt. Mae'r gyfres yn rhan o ymdrech ehangach i ddiweddaru ein gwybodaeth am ddiogelwch y llysoedd, ein prosesau diogelwch a'r egwyddorion sy'n sail iddynt. I gael rhagor o wybodaeth, darllenwch flog Susan neu ewch i GOV.UK i weld ein deunyddiau newydd am ddiogelwch y llysoedd.

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6 comments

  1. Comment by Mark Jones posted on

    As a lawyer in London i have had to take issue with court security, over not being able to take my metal flask in to court with my coffee, as i was told that it could be used to hit people. it was not clear if he though lawyers represent such a risk. But what i did object to was being told to take my belt of to enter court, when I pointed out Section 52 of the Court Act 2003 (which tells a court security officer what they are allowed to ask people to remove) i was told the "we do security not law". The problem is training and how to deal better with the public. And the fact if you send an email the the company involved you do not get a reply.

    • Replies to Mark Jones>

      Comment by HMCTS Communications Team posted on

      Hi Mark - we’re sorry that your metal flask was confiscated. This doesn’t sound like our standard procedure, although our security officers are able to use their discretion to determine objects that could be dangerous.

      We do appreciate that those who regularly work in courts and tribunals pose less of threat to security, but it is important that we don’t allow any items which could be used by others as a weapon - or to disrupt proceedings - on our premises.

      As you may be aware we are rolling out a professional users’ access scheme(https://www.gov.uk/government/news/professional-court-access-scheme-to-be-adopted-nationally). Currently, members of the Bar Council in 15 courts are signed up to the scheme, and we are in discussions with the Law Society to roll it out to their members too. In the meantime, everyone should expect to be searched, and this search will sometimes include being asked to show that nothing is concealed behind the buckle of your belt.

      If you’re unhappy with the way a search is conducted you should contact the court directly, or use our online complaints service (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-courts-and-tribunals-service/about/complaints-procedure). We can assure you that we treat all complaints very seriously. Any training needs subsequently identified at a specific location will be addressed fully with our security contractors.

  2. Comment by Mark Jones posted on

    Thank you for your post, I have written to Mite the company involved and i dnot get replies from them. Could you explain what it is behind my belt buckle you are looking for. You did not comment on the practice of being told to take belts off, (this has now stopped after a complaint to the court) and pointing out the law. It is things like this that undermine security at court. I have also noted that some court are happy to let police officers enter court with Tasers on there belts, were other are not. an national policy would be a good idea for this.

    • Replies to Mark Jones>

      Comment by HMCTS Communications Team posted on

      Hi Mark,

      It is our policy that belt buckles should be turned over to check that nothing is concealed behind (a metal item e.g. a small knife could be hidden behind the buckle). It is not standard procedure to ask people to remove their belt, and we're glad that this seems to have been resolved in your local court.

      There are currently a few people we don’t search as a matter of course, and this includes uniformed police officers carrying a warrant card, and registered judiciary. If you notice an inconsistency in the way this policy is applied, or would like to complain about the policy itself, please raise a complaint online. You can also visit GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/entering-court-or-tribunal-building), if you’d like to read more about what to expect from our security.

  3. Comment by Mark Jones posted on

    Could it be possible to a woman with a underwire bar to take in to court a small knife or a small razor blade.

    My trousers also have metal in them would i have to undo my trousers to show that I am not trying to get a bladed in to court.

    The issue of taking belts off is not an issue of procedure, section 52 of the Courts Act 2003 prohibits asking for clothing to be removed other than the items mentioned in the Act, it is the ignoring of this section which causers issues with the court users.

    Can i suggest that a short survey of lawyer and there experience of court security my show the reasons why we are upset with the way we are treated by people we have know in some cases for 10 years.

    Court security have a hard job, some of my clients are not nice people, why they turn the lawyers against them is something I have never know.
    Training is key to your issues or the key to my issues with being treated poorly by security staff